Mrs Foyle took one look at me as I ran through the back door and dropped the bucket of soapy water she was holding. Her mouth wide open, she crossed herself, muttering something unintelligible. Pushing past her, I went to the telephone extension on the kitchen wall. I rang 999, asked for an ambulance, and ignored the barrage of questions from the call-taker. I said there had been a terrible accident, gave the address, and told her I would wait outside.
It took a long time before a motorcyle paramedic turned up to find me waving frantically at the end of the driveway. Looking at the state I was in, he presumed at first that I was the victim, then huffed and puffed behind me carrying his heavy equipment as I showed him where my father’s body was located at the rear of the property. An experienced man, he took one look, and immediately decided he could do nothing. Then he reached for his portable radio and put in a request for the police to attend, before suggesting we should wait outside.
My role of being a shocked and distressed son had been as carefully planned as the deed itself, and I gave a very convincing performance of acting confused and terrified. For the next few hours, the industry of death meshed its gears around me, as technicians and detectives joined the two police officers who had originally attended. Statements were taken from myself and Mrs Foyle, some background established, and with my permission, a rudimentary search of the workshops was carried out. When father’s body was eventually removed into a black unmarked van, it was close to Mrs Foyles regular time to leave.
Findng her with her coat already in her hand, I requested that she cook me two rump steaks, medium rare, along with four fried eggs. I was going for a shower and would be down to eat the meal before she left. Finally clean, and wearing a dressing gown, I told her she could go home as I began to slowly eat the meal. I intended to relish every mouthful, and was not about to spoil the experience by gulping it down. After I had eaten, I sat and made a list of everything I would need to do after the Coroner’s Inquest.
1) Sell the company.
2) Sell the equipment in the workshops and convert them.
3) Give Mrs Foyle notice, and pay her off.
4) Learn to drive.
5) Become fit and strong.
6) Get a job.
7) Continue my studies.
8) Learn to swim.
9) Get a passport.
Number six might seem strange, given that I would inherit the company, the house, and a lot of money. But I wanted to be around people, and get to know how to behave in society. It seemed to me that a menial job of some sort would be ideal for this. My explanation for number three was that I did not want nor need to have a nosey housekeeper around. I could learn to cook and clean, I was sure of that. As for number ten, I had never been anywhere except this house, my school, and the factory where the drills were assembled. Once I was fit, and had worked out my routine, I thought foreign travel would be the perfect thing.
A detective came to the house to tell me that it seemed likely the cause of death would be confirmed as an industrial accident, but it would all take time to be official. He was very sympathetic, it has to be said. Meanwhile, I told Mrs Foyle that she was no longer required, and arranged with the company to pay her salary until the end of the year, by way of compensation. She gave no argument, and asked for no reason. It seemed to me that she was pleased to go.
As she left that afternoon, she handed me the house keys, and the spare money from her housekeeping box. There were no fond farewells, no parting gift or speech. Halfway along the drive, she turned and stared at me as I stood in the doorway. She looked at me in the same way she always looked at father. I closed the door and stood with my back against it, grinning.
Now she was afraid of me.